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Salvation Army Kettle Drive is off and running at local businesses

CHRIS MORELLI/THE EXPRESS Fran Decker, left, and Kathy Arndt, right, ring the bells and man the Salvation Army kettle at Sav-A-Lot.

LOCK HAVEN — Can you hear it? The bells are ringing.

The Salvation Army’s annual Kettle Drive kicked off last Friday in Lock Haven with kettles placed at three locations — First Commonwealth Bank, Save-A-Lot and Walmart. If it seems like it’s earlier that usual, that’s because it is. Due to Thanksgiving falling so late in the month, the kettle drives got an early jump on things.

“We started Nov. 22 and we’ll go all the way until Christmas Eve,” said Capt. Dan Johnson of the Salvation Army. “We’re hoping for the best.”

According to Johnson, there are big goals for this year’s drive.

“We’re going for $50,000,” Johnson said matter-of-factly.

If you are looking to donate, you’ll find kettles at Walmart from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday. The Northwest Bank location will be Fridays only from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.. Save-A-Lot will have a kettle from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Thursdays through Saturday. Finally, Tractor Supply Company in Mill Hall will have a kettle from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Those locations will feature ways to donate through Google Pay and Apple Pay, something that’s new this year.

“A lot of people don’t carry cash,” Johnson said. “This is a way for those people to donate. They can just scan the QR code and donate.”

If you don’t have the means to donate, you can always donate time.

“We are always looking for people. If you want to sign up, just call the office,” Johnson said.

One thing that is different this year is a 24-hour kettle event. It will be held from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7. WSQV Radio will broadcast live from 10 a.m. until noon and First Commonwealth Bank will sponsor the event.

Johnson said that he’s looking forward to it.

“I’ve done an 18-hour one, but never a 24-hour one. It’s going to be fun,” he said.

On the first day, the bells were ringing and the kettle drive was off to a running start.

“So far, it’s been pretty good,” said Fran Decker of Flemington, who was manning the kettle at the Lock Haven Save-A-Lot location. “People are being very generous.”

Decker was working alongside Kathy Arndt of Lock Haven. They like the Save-A-Lot location because there is an overhang which shields them — at least a little bit — from the elements.

“It’s not too bad today,” Arndt said. “Just a little windy.”

In addition to the traditional kettles, there will be countertop kettles placed at various locations around town such as Avenue 209, Dunkin’ Donuts, Oddfellas and Unkel Joe’s Woodshed, just to name a few.

If you patronize those businesses, you can help the Salvation Army simply by tossing in your spare change.

To donate money, time or to simply learn more about the kettle drive, call the Salvation Army at (570) 748-2951.

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